II Kings 21

Those have much to answer for who not only are wicked themselves but help to make others so (v. 16).

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzi-bah.

2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

3 For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.

5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.

6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

7 And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:

8 Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.

9 But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel.

10 ¶ And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,

11 Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:

12 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.

13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.

14 And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies;

15 Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.

16 Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.

17 ¶ Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

18 And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.

19 ¶ Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.

20 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.

21 And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:

22 And he forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD.

23 ¶ And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.

24 And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.

25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

26 And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.

2 Kings 21:1-15 – ​An Evil Leader’s Terrible Influence.

   It seems incredible that the good Hezekiah should have had such a son; but the young prince was evidently under the power of that reactionary party which, during Hezekiah’s reign, had been kept in check only by the strong influence of Isaiah. Hence, on becoming king, Manasseh reintroduced the worst forms of idolatry which had disgraced the nations of Canaan and were rife in neighboring countries. It was the height of presumptuous impeity to place an Asherah, such as Ahab made (1 Kings 16:32), in the very precincts of the Temple, and to patronize the Chaldean astrologers who poured into the country from Babylon (Ezekiel 8).
   Vigorous protests were raised against these shameful abominations by Hosea, Joel, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Isaiah; but in vain. Nothing could stay the mad fanaticism of the people for licentious rites, and their doom became inevitable. The gentle voice of love was of none avail, and the brazen clangor of Babylonian captivity must speak in tones that could not be silenced. For Manasseh’s end consult see 2 Chronicles 33. Surely none need despair, since he found mercy. But alas! nothing can restore the years that the locust hath eaten.

2 Kings 21:1—And his mother’s name was Hephzibah.

   Hephzibah means, “My delight is in her” (Isaiah 62:4). How strange, supposing that her name was any indication of her character, that such a woman should have borne such a son; for “Manasseh…hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him” (v. 11 below). A godly ancestry, however, does not guarantee a holy seed. Hezekiahs and Hephzi-bahs may be the parents of Manassehs. That this may not be so:–
   Let us guard against the inconsistencies of our private life.— The child of religious parents becomes habituated to their use of expressions in public which betoken the highest degree of holiness, and is therefore quicker to notice any inconsistency in temper or walk. Is there not a subtle temptation also for those who work much for God in public to feel that a certain laxity is permissible in the home? Will not late after-meetings at night compensate for indolence in the morning, and will not protracted services be the equivalent for private prayer? May not irritability to servants or children be accounted for by the overstrain of our great work? Hence, inconsistency and failure to realize our lofty aims, which are quickly noticed, beget distaste for our religion.
   Let us guard against absorption in public religious duty to the neglect of the home.— Does it never happen that the children of religious parents are put to bed by nurses who are heedless of their prayers, because their mothers have undertaken a mission? Do not boys sometimes grow up without the correcting influence of the father’s character, because he, good man, is so taken up with committees?
   Let us guard against an austerity of manner, which prevents us being the companions, play-fellows, and associates of our children.

2 Kings 21:16-26 – ​Like Father, Like Son.

   Manasseh shed much innocent blood, and among others, tradition has it that Isaiah was sawn asunder at his command (Hebrews 11:37). Amon followed in his father’s steps. Here is the horror of sin! A man may repent and turn to God, but he cannot undo the effect of his evil course on those whom he has seduced. Probably, on his conversion to God, Manasseh used all the power at his command to induce Amon to avoid the sins of his own early life and to follow the example of his later years. But Amon would not listen. “He walked in all the way that his father walked in” (v. 21)!
   No man sins by himself. The evil of his deeds is far-reaching. When once you have scattered thistle-down, – as you have sown, so will you reap. Christ’s heaviest denunciations were launched against those who put an occasion to fall in the way of one of his little ones. God forgive us, if we are making life’s battle harder for any soul, especially for our own child. “Take the safe path, father!” said a little boy as they were climbing a steep place. “Remember that I am coming.”